Monday, September 22, 2014

Almond Streusel Cherry Cheesecake Bars

So I have a family barbecue coming up and had been searching for that perfect dessert that will feed a crowd but still be beautiful and of course delicious. I considered your regular big batch desserts like brownies and cookies (of course these are still favourites of mine) but I was feeling the need to come up with something a little more summery and fresh. So it needed fruit, and it needed to be smooth and creamy...perfect solution: Fruit topped cheesecake! 

Cherry flavour is not at the top of my list but the fruit itself (rather than your cherry flavoured popsicles) is delicious, especially in contrast to the almond topping and amaretto cheesecake filling. Second, best part of this cake is the simplicity of the base, which is actually made from Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix...along with a few other ingredients including cream cheese! Yes, there's actually cream cheese in the crust itself which gives it an amazing buttery texture.

This cake was a crowd pleaser! From my little cousin to my grandparents, everyone enjoyed this cake thoroughly. It was aesthetically pleasing and also had amazing summer flavours just perfect for a backyard barbecue! 

You will need a total of 3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese for this recipe
For the Cookie Base and Topping
  • 1 Pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix (Having never used this before, looking for it at the store I was looking for a box, like a cake mix, though it actually turned out to be in a bag! Just to help you locate it on the shelf!)
  • 1/4 Cup Cold butter or margarine (Butter makes this easier because the firmer your butter is the better, though both will work)
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup sliced almonds (You can buy blanched or natural sliced almonds, natural almonds/almonds with outer skin still apparent makes a prettier topping than blanched/skinless almonds do)
  • 2 1/2 Packages (8 zo each) Cream Cheese (20 oz total), softened
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbs All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Almond Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Can (21 oz) Cherry Pie Filling (I like to use E.D. Smith)
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 inch pan.
  • 2. Place cookie mix in large bowl. Cut in butter and 4 oz of cream cheese, using a pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Put aside 1 1/2 cups mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of the pan.
  • 3. Bake for 12 minutes
  • 4. Meanwhile beat 20 oz cream cheese, the sugar, flour, almond extract and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • 5. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked cookie base.
  • 6. Spoon pie filling evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  • 7. Sprinkle with reserved topping and almonds.
  • 8. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. (This cake tastes best completely chilled! So try and be patient! But if you're like me and you have no can remove a few pieces from the hot dish and places them in the freezer for 10 minutes or so  ;)




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